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Sound Fury
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Hi-Res and HDMI

Hi Folks. I'm new to digital music. I've fumbled my way to building a system with a SoundBlasterX EA-5 hi-res soundcard in my pc to an NAD amp to Focal OG Clear headphones (they were on sale for a big discount) and Bose 301 Series III speakers (from the 1970's). I just use YouTube, but they have hi-res songs if you look, and I will try out Tidal and Qubuz.

The sound is so nice.

Also, I have a TV with HDMI out to a Klipsh soundbar.

That sounds great too. Does that mean there is a DAC and amp in the TV or soundbar?

If so, do they use HDMI because it is better sound quality than analogue cables? If so, could there be a soundcard for a pc with HDMI out through an HDMI cable to an HDMI port in an amp? If so, do they do that already?

Kal Rubinson
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Quote:
Quote:

That sounds great too. Does that mean there is a DAC and amp in the TV or soundbar?

Yes, in the soundbar.

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If so, do they use HDMI because it is better sound quality than analogue cables?

It is used because HDMI is the audio+video standard. As for quality, HDMI is potentially better but only if the DAC in the amps is better than what is in the TV.

Quote:

If so, could there be a soundcard for a pc with HDMI out through an HDMI cable to an HDMI port in an amp? If so, do they do that already?

Yes and yes.

Sound Fury
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Thanks, Kal. As I think about

Thanks, Kal. As I think about it, the DAC would have to be after the HDMI cable since HDMI is digital. And probably the amp could be before or after the DAC.

Also, it seems the highest resolution possible is 32 bit, 384 kHz. Or maybe MQA is higher. So how about HDMI? Is that higher resolution than those? What is the resolution of HDMI?

Kal Rubinson
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Sound Fury wrote:
Sound Fury wrote:

And probably the amp could be before or after the DAC.

The amp is after the DAC.

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Also, it seems the highest resolution possible is 32 bit, 384 kHz.

In general practice, yes.

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Or maybe MQA is higher.

Nope. MQA is a lossy compression mechanism.

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So how about HDMI? Is that higher resolution than those? What is the resolution of HDMI?

HDMI is a connector and a format for packaging audio and video of a range of resolutions.

Sound Fury
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Right. The amp has to be

Right. The amp has to be after the DAC because the speakers attach to the amp. I didn't know MQA was lossy.

OK. I've been in a whirlwind of confusion and learning about DACs. I was actually using two DACs for a while when I did not know what I was doing.

You don't need to spend thousands on a pre-amp or integrated amp. All you need is a pc with a good DAC in the soundcard. Or Fiio makes good DACs (I have an M6 that sounds great) and they make an outboard DAC for less than $40.00. It's all analog after that, so you can use any components you like, especially if you like old equipment until something better comes along.

Digital music is not complicated. All you need is a good, inexpensive DAC between your pc and your amp.

And Klipsh even makes speakers with built in DAC and amp and USB in. Probably other brands do too. So you can plug those speakers right into your computer! However, I'm not sure how you control the volume, bass, and treble if you use USB and bypass the soundcard.

Also, along the way, I bought a Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100, but sent it back for a refund. It didn't sound any better than my Fiio M6 when I switched back and forth between the two. The M6 can be set to just being a DAC. That's why I bet their inexpensive DAC is as good as, or better than, the much higher priced DacMagic.

The only thing I'm still wondering about is HDMI. That is measured as 1080p, 144hz. Is that a higher sampling rate than 32 bit, 384 kHz?

The higher the sampling rate, the more of the music you hear, the better the imaging and the more detail there is.

Sound Fury
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Wait. My research was faulty.

Wait. My research was faulty. When I compared the CA DacMagic 100 to the Fiio M6 in DAC only mode, one or both were coming from my old soundcard, the SoundBlaster Audigy Rx, which had a 196 kHz DAC. And I didn't know I had to set the sampling rate in my computer and in the soundcard software and it was hard to figure out how to save the setting. I remember the DACs sounded very different, but then I changed something and they sounded the same, which was very nice, like the best of both, the clarity and the bass. I don't remember. I was confused. When I realized the soundcard already had a DAC, I checked and there was a new one with a good Sabre that could support 32/384 and it needed one less cable because it was in the sound card, so that was the one. After all that (and after finding I could not upgrade my NAD DAC because it was discontinued), after all that, guess what! I already had a DAC in my soundcard and it was higher res that the one I had been double-DACing with the one in my amp! (The amp is a NAD C 356BEE with a DAC module.) Right. So what I learned is that you already have a good DAC if there is already one in your computer. This is a good start. It's good to start with the basics. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, lol.

manunkind
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Bryston BDA-3

I tested Bryston BDA-3, which is a marvellous DAC, and it has several HDMI outputs.

But if you really think that your fiio digital player's integrated DAC is "as good or better than DacMagic 100", just stick with it. CA DacMagic is a very competent little DAC, albeit somewhat outdated. Fiio M6 is... well, a budget digital player. Enjoy it and don't bother wasting you money on something that will make no difference to your ears.

Kal Rubinson
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Quote:
Quote:

The only thing I'm still wondering about is HDMI. That is measured as 1080p, 144hz. Is that a higher sampling rate than 32 bit, 384 kHz?

The first number is a video resolution specification and, in fact, far from the maximum that HDMI can handle. There is no way or reason to compare it to any audio resolution spec.

As for all that precedes it, I suspect that you know little about how digital audio works and place too much emphasis on numbers in published specs.

BTW, have you ever listened to one of those Klipsh (sic) speakers?

Sound Fury
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I already explained that my

manunkind, I already explained that my research was faulty.

Sound Fury
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I already said I'm new to

Kal, I already said I'm new to digital music.

manunkind
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Sound Fury wrote:
Sound Fury wrote:

manunkind, I already explained that my research was faulty.

I wasn't referring to your research, but to your experience. You heard no difference between Fiio and DacMagic- and I thought that it will save you a lot of money.

Sound Fury
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I wrote a post earlier in

I wrote a post earlier in this thread, "Wait. My research was faulty." There, I explain how I was trying to compare the two DACs, but it was all mixed up because I was mixed up. I was double-DACing and the audio software settings were not right. It's all been a learning process. Now I'm curious to know more, try more, and hear more.

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